I used to love summer. The long, languid days. No school. No homework. Sleeping late. Going to beach. Staying out later in the evenings and watching the sun set over the hills into the darkening glow of the horizon.
Wow. Am I starting to sound like a poet or just a pretentious a-hole? What’s wrong with the paragraph I just wrote? There are no pretentious words in it, are there? Well, maybe “languid” is. I like “languid.” I don’t know where I picked it up, but I think it perfectly describes everything about summer. Where everything is a little more s-l-l-o-o-w-w-w and easygoing. Where life seems good and there’s no homework. Yup, I’ll stick with languid. Hey, there has to be a benefit to liking words the way I do. I’m not just a nerd, but a poetic nerd.
Ha ha ha. Maybe it has something to do with being bilingual. I never used to think about it much before, but I guess I am officially bilingual. Talking Lithuanian at home. English in the outside world. Just kind of always accepted it, didn’t I? But I wonder what it does to someone. Kind of like being split into two people. My Lith life and my English life. Are there really two people inside me? Scary thought. One of me is bad enough.
Luckily, Bobby Marshall doesn't seem to be bothered by it, so why should I be? Ahh, Bobby Marshall. I still can’t believe we’re friends. Or should I say “special friends”? I’m still afraid to even think about it. Me, RV Aleksandravicius -- nerd extraordinaire, spawn of Lithuanian immigrants, word lover, nervous worrywuss, possible gay person – me, friends with one of the biggest jocks in school. The world truly is an amazing place.
But, as I was saying, I used to love summer. That was before I had to work. This summer I’ll be toiling away like the rest of humanity. And I’m not just talking about working with the Computer Fix-It company I started last year with Carole. That business has been kind of rocky lately. I’ll blame it on the bad economy, since everyone always blames everything on a bad economy.
No, I’m working at my first real job. I turned fifteen last week. I used to love my birthdays. The end of school. The start of summer. But not anymore. Dad has a friend at work, Mr. Timmons, whose brother, Ed, owns a garage & gas station. Dad was talking to him and lo-and-behold (another pretentious word?), and Mr. Timmons told him his brother Ed was looking for someone to help with chores around the place. Since I’m not sixteen yet, I’m not supposed to work in the garage itself. But I can dispense gas and I work around the store that Ed has attached to the garage. Nothing heavy duty, Mr. Timmons said. Ed just needs someone fifteen to twenty hours a week helping in the store and cleaning around the place. A great way to earn a little pocket money.
Fifteen to twenty hours! Dad, bless his parental heart, volunteered me. Said it was a great way to lean about “real” life. And to "round out my skills." What, my skills are too flat or something? But Dad doesn't stop. "Too much time with your nose in a book isn't healthy." "Develop some skills." "A young man needs more than book learning." On and on and on. Says it in the mother tongue, of course, but that's how it translates into English.
Except it sounds more serious in Lithuanian. "Per daug laiko praleidi su nosim knygose." "Išmok ką nors naudingo." "Jaunam vyrui ne tik knygos naudingos." Wonder why that is. Because it's what we talk at home? Our "real" language? To Mom and Dad, English sure isn't real. Even though they speak it, Mom much better than Dad. What is real to me, then?
Oh, well. In whatever language, I think Dad wants to have a macho son like the other guys at work brag about. Well, sorry Dad, not all of us can be macho. And not all of us can be like Bobby Marshall, either. A jock. Smart. And nice. Yeah, nice. He likes me. I still can't believe it sometimes. He says I'm fine the way I am. Okay, Bobby, if you say so. I'll believe you. I have to believe you. Have to believe someone likes me the way I am.
Oh, RV, stop feeling sorry for yourself. There are people who like you besides Bobby. Mom, for example, though Mom doesn't really count because moms usually love their kids no matter how screwed up they are. But then there's Mr. Aniso, my Latin teacher last year. Good old Mr. Aniso. He's been great, especially about the gay stuff. We're becoming real friends. But he's an adult. Adults only go so far for a kid. We need our peers to like us.
So what about Carole? You've gone through a lot with her, RV, and she's still sticking by you. Yeah, that's true. She's a good egg. No, a great egg! I love you Carole Higginbottom!
And what about Ray? Brothers are usually close, aren't they? But not Ray and I. Too bad. He's just off in another world. I'm sure he thinks it's a cooler world than the one his nerdy older brother inhabits.
So there's Bobby. He's a guy. A regular guy. Something I've always wanted to be, but will never be, alas! (Another one of those words! Where are all those pretentious words coming from?). Anyway, if Bobby really likes me that would be amazing. I still can't believe it happened.
There I am thinking about him again. But that’s ok, right? I mean, after all, we kissed and everything.
!!$$#*&!! Did I just write that? Yes. GET OVER YOURSELF. RV! YOU KISSED A GUY AND YOU LIKED IT. What’s wrong with that? You’re not hearing thunder from heaven, are you? This computer isn’t blowing up because you wrote those words, is it? So you might be gay. Chill out. Or you might be bi. After all, you enjoyed making out with Carole until she started falling for that zit-faced Tim-- Whoa! Whoa!!
I have to stop worrying about things like that. Maybe Dad's right. Maybe too much time on the keyboard, writing down my thoughts, isn't good. But I like writing down my thoughts. Helps me sort things out. When Mom and Dad gave me this computer they said they wanted me to make good use of it. I think I have. Maybe not the way they'd want me to, but I think they'd be proud of me for writing so much. And I kept it up all school year. That's good isn't it? Even if Mom and Dad would be shocked at some me of the stuff I wrote here. I hope I keep up the writing during the summer. After all, I should have more time in summer, even if those languid days are cut by fifteen to twenty hours a week.